September 26, 2011

Stephanie Stein From Happy Girl Kitchen: Secrets to Baking Without Eggs & Her Amazing Scone Recipe

Stephanie Stein is the baker extraordinaire at Happy Girl Kitchen Company in Pacific Grove, and if you're ever lucky enough to stop by and try one of her baked delights, you'll understand why I'm in awe of her.  She was sweet enough to share some of her wisdom and her insanely good scone recipe for our egg-allergic families, and I'm so excited to pass it along to you.  You are in for such a treat!

From Stephanie:

"I would love to give you some info on egg free baking and such. The scone recipe is not vegan, but I have tried adapting it with coconut oil, getting fair results. I have attached a version of it for you.

My first attempts at adapting recipes for an egg free bakery case were a bit difficult at first; mostly just because I was used to baking with eggs. But! There are so many textures and flavors that I have discovered pushing myself beyond classic baking. Now I just think its boring. So, some tips:

I like to look for ideas at vegan blogs to inspire me. One day I came across garbanzo bean brownies and ended up making some fudge with them. They were so amazing! Blogs are a great way to see what other people are doing and to share with them your creative pursuits as well. Some of my favorite blogs:

All have many recipes that are either gluten free, vegan, or vegetarian. 

Get excited about all the alternatives that are available out there. If you are allergic to dairy there are endless non dairy milks to be found. Hem, nut, soy, and rice milks are available at most grocery stores where I live, so I would think they would be readily accessible for you too! Check natural food stores for different flours such as brown rice, spelt, and oat flours... which are also among my favorites. 

Experiment! When I am teaching my classes I always emphasize to practice, practice, practice. We must not be afraid of failing because what we end up with will ultimately be good enough. Use good ingredients, pay attention, and your end product WILL be good enough. And if it wasn't what you were expecting? Be creative! The other day I made vegan, gluten free snickerdoodles that tasted amazing, but fell oh so flat. What did I do? I mashed them into a loaf pan and ended up making snickerdoodle cookie bars. They were a hit!"

Sun-dried tomato, herb, and manchego cheese scones
Here is the basic scone recipe:
Sweet Scone Base Recipe
with adaptions

3 cups flour*
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups rolled oats

2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled

1 cup buttermilk
1.5 teaspoons flavor extract (vanilla, almond, etc)

*I generally blend 1 cup all purpose flour, 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, and 1 cup is the wild card. It could be spelt flour, oat flour, almond meal.... whatever you choose. Just a note: When using gluten free flours such as almond flour, quinoa flour, oat flour, etc. I generally only use ½ cup and then a ½ cup of whatever flour I feel with compliment the flavors of the recipe.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium sized bowl, combine all of your dry ingredients, except the oats. This would also be a good time to add any spices or dry additional ingredients, if you are choosing to. (see carrot cake scone recipe) Once all the dry ingredients are combined, take your two sticks of chilled butter and work them in with your hands or a pastry cutter. The main goal is to not overwork the dough (less is more here!) and get the pieces of butter to resemble oats or small pebbles. Lack of uniformity is ok; you want there to be chunks of butter so they create butter spores in your soon to be beautiful scones.

Next, stir in the oats to combine. Now is the time to add any additional whole ingredients that you may want. (i.e. currants, chocolate, nuts, etc) Lastly, pour the buttermilk and gently combine with your hands. I like to bring the dough together in the center of the bowl, almost as if Im centering clay on a potters wheel. By pressing the dough together in the center after you have combined it for a bit, you will have a better idea if the dough needs a bit more milk or not.

Cut your dough into two even pieces and flatten both pieces so they resemble about 2 inch high round disks. Dab the tops of the disks with milk and sprinkle with sugar of choice. Cut each disk into 6 even triangles, first by cutting the disk in half and then laying your knife at 1 o'clock and 7 o'clock and then again at 11 and 5. Place on a prepared baking tray that is buttered or slayed with parchment paper.

Depending on your oven and the flours you have chosen to work with, the scones generally vary from taking 18 to 25 minutes. They are done when they are golden brown and are fairly sturdy on the outside but seem as though there is still a bit of moisture in the middle.

Let cool and enjoy!

Before Stephanie, I had never before even attempted scones.  I've since made 4 batches--now I can't imagine not having freshly baked scones around at all times! 

For my egg-allergic children, this recipe is fabulous!  Because Tristan is also dairy-allergic, I essentially make a vegan version by substituting Earth Balance for the butter, and 1 cup of soy milk plus 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar for the buttermilk (curdle the milk at the very beginning).  I tend to add a little more liquid to the recipe to make sure everything's nice and moist (like 1-1/8 c. soy milk).  Turns out perfectly.  Once you have a few batches under your belt, you'll positively be a scone expert! 

Here is my little sugar sprinkler.  I was experimenting with round shaped scones here.

Conveniently, she always comes round as I'm prepping them for the oven.

Into the oven...
and out!
I know I shouldn't be eating scones at 9pm, but this post is making me hungry!
Thanks again, Stephanie!  You're a pastry goddess!

1 comment:

  1. Wow. Those scones look phenomenal. Thanks, Stephanie and Sarah for sharing this. I love Stephanie's message to keep practicing. So true!